September 27, 2016
The Miami Marlins have announced that Martin Prado has been extended on a 3yr/$40MM contract. The 32 year-old is batting .305/.360/.415 (7 HR's, 71 RBI's, 68 Runs) with seven games left in the season.
Prado's leadership and consistent bat has helped him become a prominent figure in Miami's lineup. Considering Chase Headley signed a 4yr/$52MM deal just a year ago on the free agent market, the Marlins appear to have received a significant hometown discount for the veteran's services.
How this affects the 3B outlook of the Marlins: Despite Derek Dietrich's promising season, Martin Prado represents a major upgrade going forward, and allows them to keep Dietrich in a utility role with Dee Gordon back at second base. With the Marlins failing to invest in a long-term 3B since trading Colin Moran away to the Houston Astros, the team now has more time to find a better option for the future. Prado is an above-average stop-gap solution, but the team will still need to focus on a finding a long-term alternative as Prado will be 35 years old by the time his new contract expires and they have no potential starting third baseman in their farm system.
How this affects the overall outlook of the Marlins: Prado has spent the majority of his second season in South Beach batting at the top of the order with the No. 2 spot being the most likely outcome (111 games). He's still a solid defender at the hot corner although his UZR/150 dipped to 1.6 this season after averaging 9.55 over the last two years. Retaining a key catalyst and reliable defender like Prado will benefit the Marlins in a lot of ways.
Now that Yelich, Ozuna, Prado, Gordon, and Stanton are all under team control for at least the next three years, the team won't have to worry about acquiring a top-of-the-order bat anytime soon. With Justin Bour, J.T. Realmuto, and Adeiny Hechavarria locked up for the foreseeable future, the team has no positions they need to fill anytime soon (assuming Hechavarria can rebound offensively in 2017 at 27 years old). The Marlins' front office can now spend their time investing in the pitching staff and long-term options in the lineup (3B, SS, 1B)